March 19, 2009 at 8:52 am

Angelique S. Chengelis: Big Ten

Minor looking at major duty

Brandon Minor was Michigan's primary ball carrier last season despite an injured wrist. This spring, he's healthy and has impressed Rich Rodriguez with his conditioning. (John T. Greilick/The Detroit News)

Brandon Minor entered spring practice healthy and conditioned.

Minor likely will be expected this fall to pick up where he left off last season -- as Michigan's primary running back.

"He's in great shape," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Last year, he played with one wrist. The other wrist was hurting, so he carried the ball in one hand. That's healthier now, and that's a good thing.

"Brandon loves working out and loves football. I think he's focused. We'll see."

Rodriguez said Carlos Brown, who has been nagged by injuries throughout his career, also is healthy and in shape.

"Those are two veteran guys that have had great offseasons," Rodriguez said. "It looks like they are in great shape. We'll see how that carries over."

Minor took over the starting job last season against Penn State. He finished with 533 yards on 103 carries (5.2 avg.). Freshman Sam McGuffie, who started six games, has transferred, and freshman Michael Shaw, a solid contributor last season, is missing practice while he recovers from a sports hernia.

Along with Brown, Kevin Grady also is in the mix at tailback.

Buckeyes look for corners

Ohio State is several weeks away from the start of its spring practice, but the Buckeyes know a major focus will be finding some cornerbacks.

Gone from last year's team is Thorpe Award winner Malcolm Jenkins , backup Shaun Lane , and junior Donald Washington , who left for the NFL draft. Fourth-year junior Chimdi Chekwa is the only returning player with considerable experience -- 26 games, 13 starts.

"It's always an area of concern, especially with the type of corners we lost," defensive coordinator Jim Heacock told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's a double-edge sword -- you hate starting off without much experience, but on the other side, you enjoy having so much competition."

Said cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson : "I'm excited, but we've got a lot of work to do. Spring (practice) is going to be a time where guys have a chance to win jobs and show they can get on the bus."

Andre Amos will be one to watch, although he is coming off two injuries that have sidelined him much of the last two seasons. Donnie Evege and Travis Howard also are coming off injuries. Freshman C.J. Barnett , an early enrollee, will participate in spring practice. Devon Torrence converted from receiver in 2008 and has played mostly special teams. Freshmen Corey Brown and Dominic Clarke will arrive on campus during the summer.

Iowa needs a back

When Iowa begins spring practice March 26, the Hawkeyes will be looking for Shonn Greene 's replacement. Greene, the Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's top running back, is headed for the NFL draft.

Jewel Hampton , a true sophomore, looks like the front-runner.

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Hampton carried the ball 91 times last season and gained 463 yards. Jeff Brinson hasn't had any game experience and redshirted last fall, but in high school rushed for nearly 5,000 yards and 67 touchdowns.

Bottom line -- Iowa will be young at tailback this fall.

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Division I coaching changes

School Out In
AuburnTommy TubervilleGene Chizik
ArmyStan BrockRich Ellerson
Ball StateBrady HokeStan Parrish
Boston CollegeJeff JagodzinskiFrank Spaziani
Bowling GreenGregg BrandonDave Clawson
ClemsonTommy BowdenDabo Swinney
Eastern MichiganJeff Genyk Ron English
Iowa StateGene ChizikPaul Rhodes
Kansas StateRon PrinceBill Snyder
Miami (Ohio)Shane Montgomery Mike Haywood
Mississippi StateSylvester CroomDan Mullen
New MexicoRocky Long Mike Locksley
New Mexico StateHal MummeDeWayne Walker
PurdueJoe TillerDanny Hope
San Diego StateChuck LongBrady Hoke
SyracuseGreg RobinsonDoug Marrone
TennesseePhil FulmerLane Kiffin
ToledoTom AmstutzTim Beckman
Utah StateBrent Guy Gary Andersen
WashingtonTyrone WillinghamSteve Sarkisian
WyomingJoe GlennDave Christensen

Source: ESPN

Big Ten football dates

Spring football practice start dates and game dates for Big Ten teams:

School Practices Game
IllinoisMarch 31April 25
IndianaMarch 24April 18
IowaMarch 26April 18
MichiganStartedApril 11
Michigan StateMarch 24April 25
MinnesotaMarch 24April 25
NorthwesternMarch 30April 25
Ohio StateApril 2April 25
Penn StateMarch 27April 25
PurdueMarch 25April 18
WisconsinMarch 24April 18

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